Ursula von Rydingsvard in her Williamsburg studio, surrounded by the cedar cast of Katul Katul, 2002.©ITINERANT PICTURES
The sculptures of Ursula von Rydingsvard have always been somewhat enigmatic, towering structures made of wood—and sometimes other materials—that are at once poetic and deeply awe-inspiring. There’s a subtleness and delicateness to their strength and solidity. Despite their apparent ease, von Rydingsvard’s works are indeed laborious endeavors.
“I always seem to veer toward the things that are very labor-intensive,” von Rydingsvard tells director Daniel Traub in a new documentary about her life and work, titled Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own. Look no further than work that appeared in her 1990 show at Capp Street Project in San Francisco for proof. In one archival interview included in Traub’s film, she mentions that it took her weeks to cut a sculpture. After that came another two to three weeks of gluing, and then the application of a graphite powder, to give it texture.